Putting the fun in funding

By Phil Plait | October 5, 2011 7:00 am

Does Zach Weiner know me or what?

Click to see the whole comic.

I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling auditors!


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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Geekery, Humor
MORE ABOUT: SMBC, Zach Weiner

Comments (22)

  1. Pete Jackson

    Yes, you were pencilled in for funding, but the money was all switched to JWST.

  2. LOL! :-)

    But given the tiger stripes and likely sub-ice crust ocean would that be life *on* Enceladus or life *in* Enceladus? ;-)

    PS. Good Youtube video on Encladus linked to my name here thanks to AggManUK. :-)

  3. I still think he needs to feature you in a comic about the Nobel Prize in Physics being given to an Astronomer. :D

  4. Cindy

    So for life in big particle accelerators, Zach needs to draw Brian Cox. Or are Brits above that? ;-)

  5. Also :

    marine rover

    Hmm?? The spirit may be willing there but I reckon that’d be a missed opportunity because you’d be better off with a robot (mini) sub mission! ;-)

    Here’s a prediction for y’all – if there is macroscopic life somewhere under the ice of Enceladus it’ll be totally eyeless and quite possibly transparent and colourless (or at least lacking pigmentation) just like many cave-dwelling species in similarly sub-terreanean (sub cryospheric?) environments here on Earth!

    Mind you such minor nit-picky pedantry aside, I do love this cartooon. :-)

    Thanks again Zach Weiner, great work. [Raised beer salute.] :-)

  6. Pat

    Phil, you should link these the way Eric Burns (Websnark) used to do it: Post the link with the description “submitted without comment”, then add a few thousand words in parenthetical statements.

    On the topic of shout-outs in webcomics, I have theorized that cartoonists just like flirting with cute PhDs. I know I do. :D

  7. Mark

    I’m suddenly reminded of the Monorail Song from the Simpsons…

    … and now I have a mental image of Phil Plait standing before Congress and getting them all to sing a JWST version of the Monorail Song…

  8. ceramicfundamentalist

    “Here’s a prediction for y’all – if there is macroscopic life somewhere under the ice of Enceladus it’ll be totally eyeless and quite possibly transparent and colourless (or at least lacking pigmentation) just like many cave-dwelling species in similarly sub-terreanean (sub cryospheric?) environments here on Earth!”

    if we’re making radical conjectures, i’d like to suppose that it’s biolumenescent.

  9. QuietDesperation

    My Little Enceladans: Funding Is Magic

    Wait… Enceladians? Enceladii? Enceladites?

    i’d like to suppose that it’s biolumenescent.

    That’s a requirement.

    Me (like a boss as a Senator): So there is life there?
    Dr. Plait: We’re sure of it, but we need to probe deeper. Deeper, I tell you!
    Me: Is it biolumenescent?
    Dr. Plait: Probably not.
    Me: Get out my office.

  10. Igor Kornilov

    We must be serious and accept that there is a good chance of the geysers being the exhalations of big transparent (and/or luminiscent) whales living in the Enceladus ocean. I have heard that a mission called Ahab is being budgeted to bring samples to earth.

  11. QuietDesperation

    And then I’d ask if the Enceladillians are edible just to mess with Phil’s head before I have security escort him from the building. Ha ha ha ha!

    Hey, at least I admit I’d abuse the power. ;-)

  12. HeatherR

    @11 Hey we could start selling Enceladillian hunting licenses to the Ted Nugent wing for millions of dollars. There’s a certain segment of the population which doesn’t care about living things unless they can shoot it and mount it on the wall. (We could put a disclaimer on there saying that there’s no guarantee that they’d make it to Enceladus, then put them in an enclosed truck, drive them around for several months, and then have them shoot a deer. “Oooh, look! Deer on Enceladus look just like the deer in the US! Go USA!!”)

  13. CB

    My Little Enceladans: Funding Is Magic

    Wait… Enceladians? Enceladii? Enceladites?

    They’re called Enceladas. And of course they’re edible; they come in either cheese or chicken.

  14. QuietDesperation

    What kind of cheese? American? Swiss? Any of the other nation state cheeses?

  15. Ganzy

    Yesss Grasshopper! :P

  16. Shalev

    Bioluminescence… Ahab… Oh, I am so on board with this.

    Well not literally, it would be kind of cramped and cold.

  17. Sorry to be a pedantic wet blanket here but wouldn’t bioluminesence only evolve as a zoological* benefit if other animals have vision to begin with? :-(

    In a totally pitch-dark environment, like below the Enceladian ice, eyes probably wouldn’t evolve as they’d serve no useful function .. or would they?

    Guess there’s always the possibilty of the Enceladese sea floor glowing via either vulcanism of some sort(s) or radioactivity so, hey, maybe I’m mistaken on this.

    Only one way to find out for sure – & that’s why we need the funding! ;-) :-)

    ————————

    * Off topic but curious to know : Is ‘Zoological’ properly spelt with three ‘o’s or four ie. “Zoo-ology” instead? Why / why not? Anybody?

    PS. Similar story – why do we drop the ‘i’ from Spanish – shouldn’t it be really be “Spainish” plus why isn’t ‘Iraqi’ spelt ‘Iraqui’ following the ‘u’ after ‘q’ rule? Anyone know and care to enlighten us please?

  18. JB of Brisbane

    @Messier #18 – it’s pronounced “ZO-ology”, so two “o”s.

  19. #18 MTU:
    Zoology – the word “zoo” is simply an abbreviation for “zoological garden”.
    Iraqi – because the U after Q rule doesn’t exist in Arabic and related languages. There are many Arabic words with Q’s not followed by U’s.

  20. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Neil Haggath & JB of Brisbane : Thanks for that. :-)

    Although since Arabic langauge is written in Arabic and English is written in English I’m not sure why we don’t / didn’t transcribe the names to fit our language in the same way we turn what they call Deutschland into Germany, what they call Nihon into Japan and what they call Medīnat Yisrā’el into Israel, etc?

  21. gdave

    @Messier Tidy Upper:

    We do/did transcribe Iraq to fit our language. We omit the definite article (it’s pronounced closer to al’iraaq), we omit the first consonant, the ‘ayn, which is sort of a gargly sound that has no English equivalent, we don’t bother with the distinction in Arabic between long and short vowels (the initial “i” in Iraq is the short vowel kisra, which is distinct from the long vowel yaa, the “a” is the long vowel alef, which is distinct from the short vowel damma), and the terminal “q” is actually a stand-in for another sound which doesn’t exist in English, the qaaf, sort of a hard k pronounced from the back of the throat (the Arabic letter looks a little bit like an English q and has a vaguely similar sound). Also, in the q – u sequence in English, the u is usually voiced, as a “w” (as in sequence), so Iraqui would look like it’s (possibly) pronounced “irakwee” rather than “irakee”. Similarly for Qatar, where the q is again standing in for a qaaf, and Quatar would look like it’s pronounced “kwatar”.

    BTW, Germany is the modified Latin name for the region, Germania. We do the same with some Arab countries – we derive Egypt from the Greek aegyptos, while the Arabic name of the country is misr, and the pre-Arabic name is khem.

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